Tushar BurmanSep 21, 2021 17:21:54 IST
For those of you well-heeled enough to own a Rs 53,000 vacuum cleaner before the world went into lockdown, I’m certain the Dyson V11 made your domestic captivity far more tolerable than for those who had to dust and mop the old-fashioned way. Meals were tastier, time passed at a regular pace and you came through without a divorce. The Dyson V11 is the top-of-the-line unit from the company’s stable of vacuum cleaners, and we’ve reviewed it before. But this is the review of the latest little Dyson: the Omni-Glide. Let me set your expectations early on in this text: if you’ve only used regular old vacuum cleaners in years past, this is still going to blow your mind. If – like me – you already have a V11, then not so much.
What is it?
Dyson makes world-famous, hand-held, cordless vacuum cleaners that punch well above their weight in terms of power and flexibility. That said, their top-shelf V11 is still quite the arm workout, if you need to carry all its weight in a single hand. Your muscles will give way long before the battery will. The company has remedied this to a great degree with the Omni-Glide, which is a departure in terms of form factor as well as weight. It’s a slim, elongated unit that looks much more like a traditional “stick” vacuum for floor cleaning, and that is essentially what it’s for – hard floors, with some flexibility provided for nooks and crannies, general dusting and fabrics.
How much weight do you save? About a kilo, but it feels like much, much more. Even when handling it off the floor, the Omni-Glide is far easier to manoeuvre and reach odd places with above head-level. It also has a proper toggle button that lets you keep the power on without holding onto the button like you must with the trigger-style button on the V11. Collectively, the weight, form factor and button really are game-changers here.
One of the first things I mentioned to Dyson’s PR contact when they offered the Omni-Glide for review was that if they wanted the V11 back, they’d have to send someone to pack it all up. The V11 comes in a massive, three-foot box with an intricately arranged cardboard lattice work within that holds all its myriad accessories. Once removed, there’s no way you can get everything back in there easily. Or at all; I don’t know. I bought a 22-litre plastic bin from Ikea to contain it all. It doesn’t fit. The Omni-Glide suffers no such problems. The box is much more manageable and only includes a handful of attachments: an omnidirectional soft roller, a mini motorised tool, a combination crevice/brush tool and a worktop tool. I’ve found these accessories to be the only ones I use on the V11 model; the rest stay in the three-foot box. This complement of tools is perfect for the Rs 34,900 price that Dyson asks for the Omni-glide. Of course, there’s a charger and a very compact charging dock included that you can mount on the wall. It makes the Omni-glide quite manageable to store and charge.
In use: great for floors, but an opportunity lost
The party trick of the Omni-glide is the twin-roller, motorised soft roller head that articulates 360 degrees around the vacuum body. It makes it incredibly easy to guide around furniture, pets, rugs and into corners that would otherwise be a pain to get to. This is a brand-new form factor for Dyson, and the company appears to have nailed it. You can lay the vacuum flat to be parallel to the floor and get the roller down under sofas and other furniture that would require much more effort with other machines, or even with Dyson’s own vacuums. It’s a pleasure to use. This attachment really completes the machine, employing mechanical efficiency to make up for the lack of raw power. Does it work? On hard floors with the usual complement of dust and tiny detritus, it works well. However, increase the difficulty even a tiny bit, and the suction seems inadequate. Cat litter? Prepare to go over it again and again and still have it left over.
For fabrics, I get very good results using the V11 with the motorised head. Carpets and cushions visibly change colour with dust literally ripped from the fibres, and even from below the surface. The results are evident in the transparent bin. With the Omni-glide, not so much. The suction force is low enough to require multiple passes across the same spot on a rug in order to effect some change. It works, but not very well. You’ll see the bin fill up, but only after a lot of work.
The other plastic attachments are okay, but again limited by the lack of raw power in the Omni-glide. The brush/crevice tool is okay to pull off cobwebs, but little else. The brush reduces the suction significantly, and is best used to dislodge dust before jamming the plastic nozzle directly down on the surface to get to the dust. The worktop tool works on lightly dusty surfaces.
Perhaps the most egregious thing about the Omni-glide is the opportunity lost in leveraging its light weight. It would have been the perfect car vacuum for the number of cars that go through my hands. Sadly, cleaning car mats of all the dirt and gravel that accumulates in short order requires the full force of the V11 and a bare plastic nozzle. With the Omni-glide, you’ll go over the mat several times and still have gravel sitting there, taunting you. There just isn’t enough power. There’s a ‘max’ mode button adjacent to the power button that makes things a little livelier, but still not enough to impress. Also, the battery life of the Omni-glide is rated at 20 minutes, which comes down to mere minutes in max mode.
A trade-off (among the many) of the small size is the tiny 0.2-litre dust bin on the Omni-glide. This makes whole-house cleaning a multi-step affair, requiring you to empty the bin multiple times. Thankfully, the entire bin comes off the vacuum body, making cleaning easier. The smaller size also necessitates an entirely new set of accessories, with smaller diameter mouths at the attachment point. This means you can’t use any other accessories from other Dyson vacuum cleaners – of which there are many.
Verdict: great for compulsive floor cleaners
For as long as I’ve used the Omni-glide, I’ve been impressed with its ease of use. It is just a pleasure to push around hard floors, and I’ve found myself using it multiple times a day just to feel that squeaky clean feel under my bare feet. And perhaps that’s the ideal way to use this device in dusty Indian conditions. I’d recommend it to anyone with tiled, wooden or vinyl floors, but not as much to people with rugs and fabrics to clean.
I have pets, a ground floor house and plenty of dust. The Dyson V11 was a revelation in the kind of invisible dirt it was able extract from my space. The Omni-glide was a massive relief in its feather-light weight, but stayed charged only for my floors. Everything else requires me to curl the V11 up into my arm and get to work. At Rs 34,900, it’s a one-trick pony. You could have the older Dyson V8 model with more power for a bit more money.
- Light weight
- Ideal complement of tools
- Elegant, minimal charging dock
- Lack of raw power for anything but hard floors
- Accessories are exclusive to this model
- Short battery life